Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bits and Pieces from THE KUZARI


Maybe one shouldn't to this: Opening a book and picking out a few bits and pieces from here and there. Nevertheless, I did and the brief content below is the result .

My source was THE KUZARI written by Rabbi Yehudah HaLevi over a period of twenty years in completed in 1140.

THE KUZARI 1:115.3

… A convert (to Judaism) is still not equal of a Jew who was born into the faith, because only Jews from birth can achieve prophecy. Converts can accomplish their purpose by accepting (the word of G - d) from the prophets and becoming wise and saintly, but themselves cannot be prophets.

A rather controversial statement because we know that the Prophet Ovadiah was a convert to Judaism (see Talmud Sanhedrin 39b) !

Answer: Ovadiah was an exception to the rule, because an Edomite was needed to prophesy about the downfall of Edom. In general, however, converts cannot be prophets.

Nevertheless, the Rambam (Maimonides, 1135 - 1204) states in his "Moreh Nevuchim - Guide for the Perplexed" as well as in his "Iggeret Teiman - Epistle to Yemen" that even non - Jews are capable of prophecy and he cites Iyov, Tzofar, Bildad, Elifaz and Elihu (all from the Book of Iyov) as examples.


… The Garden of Eden (Paradise, Gan Eden) refers to a certain spiritual (and not at all physical) plane that was prepared for man. Had man not sinned (e.g. Adam and Chava), he would still be there today.

However, was does it mean "spiritual plane" ?
The Torah's description of Gan Eden is extremely difficult to grasp. Are humans able to understand it at all. I personally agree to those commentators who see Paradise as a higher spiritual state of mind rather than a material place.   

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